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Food manufacturers are singled out for unannounced HSE inspections

Print publication

17/01/2018

The Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) programme of proactive inspections has begun and will review health and safety standards in food manufacturing businesses across the country. The sector is being warned that a programme of unannounced inspections began at the start of January 2018 and will run throughout the year.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is warning companies and people working in food manufacturing they must pay closer attention to how they manage workplace health risks or face serious penalties.

The HSE’s programme of proactive inspections will review health and safety standards in food manufacturing businesses across the country, and the sector is being warned that a programme of unannounced inspections began at the start of the year.

According to the HSE’s website, the inspections will focus on two of the main causes of ill-health in the food manufacturing sector which are currently occupational asthma from exposure to flour dust in bakeries, cake and biscuit manufacturers and grain mills and musculoskeletal disorders from manual handling activities and repetitive tasks across the sector.

Exposure to flour dust is the UK’s second most common cause of occupational asthma. Musculoskeletal disorders are the most common type of work-related illness in food manufacturing with handling injuries, accounting for around 20 per cent. of reported employee injuries. The HSE insists that such ill-health can be prevented when organisations have proper risk control systems in place.

The aim of the inspections is to ensure measures are being taken to protect workers against health risks and the HSE says that it will not hesitate to use enforcement actions to bring about improvements.

HSE’s head of Manufacturing Sector John Rowe, said: “The food manufacturing sector is made up of over 300,000 workers and its health and safety record needs to improve. This inspection initiative will look to ensure effective management and control of targeted health risks.”

WM Comment

Stuart Ponting, Regulatory Partner and Health and Safety specialist at Walker Morris comments: “With fines for breaches of health and safety laws increasing dramatically in the last few years, manufacturers should take action now and ensure they are compliant rather than wait for an unannounced inspection to highlight their failings.”

Walker Morris has one of the largest teams of health and safety lawyers in the UK. We advise numerous food manufacturers on their regulatory obligations and compliance measures and offer pre-inspection audits and guidance to help our clients meet their legal duties

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